Begin 2020: Talent Optimization (Revisit)

Insights from 2020 State of Talent Optimization.

The following is an update from an original post in January 2020…looking back five months ago, and it feels like a lifetime ago. Still funny and honest at the same time, the updates will hopefully improve the reader’s enjoyment.   

Jan 2020 – I have to be honest; I was a total skeptic in my very first encounter/conversation about Talent Optimization back in October. I initially thought that I would able to “use” Talent Optimization as a way to “upsell” my already burgeoning Talent Acquisition line of services. BOY WAS I WRONG!

From the beginning, I realized how narrow of a focus that “old” thinking was…and that I had been working for years to only address a small portion of a more significant overall business issue. Talent Optimization opened my eyes to focus on resolving more than just HR needs. It has helped me personally, and in-turn, my ability to help others. 

A Talent Strategy, Talent Optimization focuses on improving/re-tooling an entire organizational structure from the ground up (think individual contributor) – which has such an incredible and positive impact that it even affects a client’s ability to deliver results to their customer base.


Taking a closer look and exploring this new industry, Talent Optimization has turned out to be much more than I initially thought. WHY? I believe that it has had a lot to do with what the initial behavioral assessment was able to help me realize about myself. 

The self-awareness it has brought me has helped me to look back over my career and make some harsh realizations. Beyond having a tough heart-to-heart with myself, my understanding of the motivations behind my actions have encouraged me to take retro-active responsibility for them. Primarily, my (re-)actions grew out of not using my strengths. The positions I have tried to fulfill have all asked me to flex outside of my natural skills and abilities. As a result, what I was asking myself to do wasn’t really who I am at heart.   

From this epiphany until now (Oct to Jan), I have been able to be more honest with myself about a lot more than before. Life, in retrospect, is making a lot more sense and seems more logical. I can understand previous logic a lot more quickly than before “the awareness.” 

As a result, I have quickly realized confidence in the choices I am making, and my entire life has begun to change. Want to see if an awareness can 


As I work with clients, I have found that Talent Optimization has a lot of misconceptions. One of the largest is the results you see in the image above, which comes from the 2019 State of Talent Optimization. In the survey, 600 CEOs got asked about several talent-related business topics. 

The specific insights in this image revolve around the positive effects of Talent Optimization on employee performance & retention. First, I have to applaud these executives for implementing Talent Optimization in their organizations (in the survey, it was a relatively low number). However, look at what Talent Optimization was given credit for doing – increasing performance, retaining top performers, and spending less time on people problems. As a leader, who doesn’t want to hear that? 

The tools used in creating such results are magical only in the sense that they can bring order to our chaos and provide managers/leaders with a bias for action. 

Published by Rob Lockard, SPHR, SCP

I am a certified Talent Optimization consultant that help organizations deliver business results and align their leadership, teams, and culture to their business strategy.

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